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We’ve talked before about the need for organizations to have a defined candidate experience. But what does that mean? The “candidate experience” includes all of the touchpoints that a candidate experiences from the time they discover the company until they learn whether they’ve been hired. It’s important to note that the candidate experience includes more than just the company. Every outside organization that the company partners with (i.e. background check companies, pre-employment testing organizations) is part of the experience.
A bad candidate experience can hurt a company’s brand and bottom-line. According to a 2016 Talent Board survey, 41 percent of candidates who received a negative experience indicated that they intended to stop buying products and services from the company. Conversely, a positive candidate experience can benefit the organization in building a strong talent pipeline.
Obviously, it makes sense to have a positive candidate experience. I don’t know that anyone is intentionally trying to create a negative experience for candidates. The challenge is trying to create a candidate experience where individuals feel positively about the company, even when they don’t get the job.
The 4 C’s to Developing a Candidate Experience Strategy
To really have a positive and lasting impact with candidates, it’s going to take a strategy. The candidate experience isn’t simply another HR program, because what happens during the hiring process has a direct link to the employee experience (we will talk more about the employee experience another day.) Everything is related. For the candidate experience, I like to think of the strategy as having four key components which I’m going to call the 4 C’s (current, clear, communicative, and connecting).
1. Current: What I mean by current is being reflective of today’s business world. When I purchase something, very little comes with the product in terms of instructions. How to assemble or activate the item is intuitive.
The same is necessary for the candidate experience. While getting hired is a process, make the process easy for candidates to understand and follow. For instance, if your competitive set is using mobile to accept applications, then it’s possible you’re missing out by not doing the same. So, use technology where it makes sense and brings the most advantage.
2. Clear: A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about the “8 Things Job Seekers Want from Recruiters”. One of the biggest things candidates mentioned was honesty – about the job and the company. Candidates understand that companies aren’t perfect. They do want to know both the good and the not-so-great about a future employer.
Consider putting together a “day in the life” video and posting it on your career portal. It can help employees learn about the company and the jobs available. It can show off some of the company culture.
3. Communicative: This will be no surprise to anyone, but candidates want to know where they are in the process. They deserve to be treated with respect. Even if they’re no longer being considered.
Tell applicants when their application has been received. Communicate with candidates when they’re scheduled for video or panel interviews, so they can prepare. The same applies to when candidates are going to complete an assessment. Tell them in advance so they’re not caught off guard.
4. Connecting: By connecting, I mean letting candidates “connect” with the company. First by creating online talent networks so individuals can hear about job openings. Then once they apply and are called for an interview, connecting can mean touring the office, meeting future co-workers, and getting a chance to see what it would be like to work there.
Another aspect to connecting is allowing candidates to stay connected with the hiring manager and recruiter via email and even on social media platforms like LinkedIn. It’s possible that if the candidate isn’t selected for this opportunity, they might be perfect for another one.
The Candidate Experience Lasts Beyond the Interview
Organizations need to realize that the candidate experience will stay with a person long after the interview. So, make it a good one by creating a strategy. But keep in mind that the candidate experience is only one part of an organization’s overall talent acquisition strategy. It’s equally important to have a sourcing strategy as well as a selection philosophy.
If you’re looking for more ways to step up your recruiting game, I hope you’ll join me and the Criteria Corp team for a webinar on “Standing Out in a Candidate’s Market: 5 Recruiting Strategies for Success”. We’re going to add to this conversation and discuss additional steps employers can take to attract and hire the best talent. The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 10a Pacific / 1p Eastern. And if you can’t make the live event, sign up anyway and get the recording. Look forward to seeing you then!